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Planning Commission approves restaurant redevelopment plans along Oxford Street

A local church was also granted an amendment to their conditional use permit during Tuesday's meeting, and annexation plans were discussed.

The Worthington Planning Commission granted a variance for the property at 1632 Oxford Street, which would allow for the construction of a new restaurant at the location.
The Worthington Planning Commission granted a variance for the property at 1632 Oxford Street, which would allow for the construction of a new restaurant at the location.
Tim Middagh / The Globe
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WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Planning commission held a series of public hearings during their June 7 meeting, including one regarding a variance request for an Oxford Street property that would allow for the operation of a restaurant at that location.

The request, submitted by Minilik Mersha, would allow for the construction of an addition to the existing building, encroaching 6 feet into the required 10-foot side setback. Without this addition, the building would not have space for a commercial kitchen, leaving Mersha unable to redevelop the property into a restaurant.

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“We want to use that property the right way,” Mersha stated during the public hearing, as the building is currently a residential property. “I don’t think you can really do much with it right now the way it's set up… what I want to do is kind of clean it up.”

Mersha’s plans include a 480-square foot addition to the rear of the building that would line up with the west edge of the building and an accessible ramp on the front of the building. Both the addition and the accessible ramp would not meet setback requirements. Additionally, Mersha proposed outdoor seating behind the building and parking on the south side of the property.

“The other part of it is, I’m from Ethiopia and we don’t have a close restaurant nearby here so we want to bring people together and kind of show our culture,” Mersha told planning commission members. “That's what I'm trying to do.”

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Several neighboring properties came out to express their support for the project, though concerns over the decrease in distance between setbacks and the effects that could have of fire safety were brought forth by one party. Individuals involved with the projects assured that firewalls would be put in place, as per regulations.

Due to the size and shape of the property, and the current zoning requirements, the property was found to be unique. With the proposed restaurant being in line with zoning requirements for that area, the planning commission voted unanimously to approve the request.

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Iglesia Pentecostal Unida Hispana, located at 500 Stower Drive, was granted a conditional use permit during Tuesday planning commission meeting.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

The Planning Commission also approved a request put forward by Iglesia Pentecostal Unida Hispana to amend their conditional use permit that permits the operation of a church at 500 Stower Drive. The proposed amendment allows for a new property to be included within the permit, which will let the church expand its building and meet parking requirements.

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The Center for Active Living's racquetball courts were also discussed. They will be repaired, with one of the courts to be retrofitted to better serve CAL members.

Iglesia Pentecostal Unida Hispana has been operating out of the Stower Drive location since being granted the original conditional use permit back in January 2016, and the congregation now hopes to expand.

While the Planning Commission did approve the request, as a condition of the permit the church is required to submit a change of zone application for the new portion of the property. That would make the property uniformly zoned, rather than having two different zones.

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The annexation of the Ridley Block USA property off CO HWY 35, was discussed at the Worthington Planning Commission meeting on June 7, 2022.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

A petition for the annexation of 7.9 acres of land located south of Nobles County 35 was also submitted to the planning commission by Ridley Block USA Inc.

In order to construct a storage building on the property, Ridley Block USA is seeking an annexation, which will allow access to electrical services maintained by the city. No sewer or water extensions are being requested at this time.

The Planning Commission moved to recommend approval of the annexation, which will go before City Council at its next meeting.

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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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